Monday, January 18, 2010



You were the place I chose to make my book
Be about--love in Haiti, not in Maine.
I went to you in a traveler's handbook,
Studied all your flowers, soups, and history,
Studied your Iron Market, Port-au-Prince
Where all my characters, or most of them,
Walked, picked wildflowers, bought art
From native artists, fell in love with love.
Though I really, really never went there,
I know your white streets, and mixes
Of races, all shades of humanity.

Your forests were abundant then, it said,
My handbook did, which in the cold winter
Of Fryeburg, Maine I read, then wrote of you.
Haiti with its long road to The Citadel--
I had my lovers picnic in its shade,
The trip by mule they took up to it--
It was a lovely country, my handbook said.
The people all made music, grew coffee,
Worshipped voodoo gods, were gracious, and poor.

Now your forests are gone to help your own
Cook breakfast in the morning, your concrete
Is weak and crumbling. Now your harbors
Are sickened with fish-thickened sewage,
Your shores have become the dump of the world --
And this was before your earthquake came.

Haiti, home to all who know and love her,
I bow to your heart and perseverance
And wonder at your long endurance.
And if your tale of woe is our own warning
Let it teach our Haitian hearts to sow
The seeds of love upon your shores
Where once again a paradise might grow.

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